Afghan men carry an injured man to a hospital after a suicide attack in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan.

Kabul: A suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed about 20 people and wounded dozens on Tuesday at a gathering on the highway between the eastern city of Jalalabad and the main border crossing into neighbouring Pakistan, officials said.

The blast, less than a week after a suicide attack that killed more than 20 people in the capital, Kabul, came as violence has flared across Afghanistan, with heavy fighting in northern provinces over recent days.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the provincial governor’s office said killed at least 19 people and wounded 57 more, although the total remains unclear, amid conflicting official reports.

Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the Nangarhar provincial council, said at least 30 bodies had been taken to the hospital, but the toll could rise.

The violence has dampened hopes of peace talks to end the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan but on Tuesday, two Taliban officials told Reuters the movement was preparing for another meeting with U.S. officials following one in July.

As yet, there is little sign yet of Afghanistan becoming more secure and stable before a parliamentary election next month and a presidential election in April.

Nangarhar, one of the main strongholds of Islamic State fighters since early 2015, has been one of the most volatile regions this year, with a string of suicide bombings and attacks on its capital, Jalalabad.

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